Religion and Religious Persecution: A Topic from the Book “Religious Liberty, Freedom, Power and the Role of the West”, Written By Sardar Mushtaq Gill

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Every religion has precepts for its followers. These precepts of the religion set a goal for them according to its given spiritual standards. If the canons of the religion promote peace, love and tolerance for human being in general, then no doubt the religion is a peaceful religion. But if the decretals of the religion instigate and promotes hatred and incongruity in society then there is no reason to say the religion is not for peace promoter for humanity. Most of the religions in this world preach for spiritual awakening for its followers, to this extent every religion could be peaceful. Some are continually exerting to overthrow others religions’ spiritual enlightenment which should not be tolerable because this religious exertion is basic actor of religious extremism which becomes the preliminary ground of hatred for both of those faith and no faith. There is general principle if a religion which uses violence can expect a violent response. It would not be considered as religious persecution same as Politics uses power to eradicate terrorism from society. Every religion and non-religion must be bond to use peaceful means for its all religious and secular activities.

If a religion uses its teachings and traditions that speak of violence and hatred against non-believers, particularly Creator’s intense dislike, manifested by his plans to physically torture them for eternity, then there is no doubt that there is need of power to stop its breeding. Religion must make it clear to say, beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

There are some religions which have developed their social structure and legal system on their religion’s harmful techniques .With the help of those tactics the religion is restricting others’ faith, conscience and belief in this way, in which, it becomes not only hard for individual but also impossible for individual to practice one's own faith, conscience and belief. It is a first religious incursion at one’s faith, conscience and belief. The second religious incursion is to not allowing to change one’s faith, conscience and belief. The third religious incursion is to spread hatred against one’s faith, conscience and belief. The fourth religious incursion is to condemn one’s faith, conscience and belief in a way by which one has to suffer both mentally and physically. The fifth religious incursion is to protect one’s faith, conscience and belief in such a way when it becomes life risk for others. The sixth religious incursion is to terrorize others by religion. The seventh incursion is to discriminate to marginalize someone due to one’s faith, conscience and belief. All these seven religious incursions are called religious persecution. During the time of religious persecution, Religion must satisfy its followers by saying, "But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not a hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls." And religion must not preach its followers in this way, and fight them until persecution is no more, but if they desist, then let.

There was a beautiful village where various kinds of religious people were residing happily. A stranger came and started to live amongst them. At earlier everything was going well but with the passage of time hatred started to work in the village and at last the whole village was going to be divided by elders’ decision. Meanwhile the stranger also became powerful and he demanded his portion of land from that village. All village was wondered how he would be deserved to be given a separate land of the village; he could stay in any division of the village. The stranger explained he is by culture, by faith and by tradition and even by his costumes is different from the village hence it is not fit for him to reside amongst the village, hence it is a right demand for a separate land for his living ,where he could live according to hi culture, faith, tradition and costume. Then a war and violence was started in the village and it destroyed its happy life forever. 

This world is a beautiful global village for human being where every human can reside and live with an enjoyable life if he would not condemn cultural things on the basis of specific religious teachings and traditions. The west and other administrations of nations worldwide continue in unity to push back against any religious force that attempts to deprive human beings of their inherent right to enjoy one’s culture and tradition and costumes. Religion should not show spiritual concern with such mean things which are related to physical things because that could be a reason of division of people of a land on the basis of religion’s codes. People should have religion for their spiritual enlightenment and not with the purpose of gaining power and land. When religion starts to instigate its followers for power and land then its harmful and virulent potential will persecute others who have different faiths and visions. Costume is not part of spiritual enlightenment; it demonstrates to a culture and a land where someone lives. Religion should teach its followers to be harmonized with the land and culture where they live. Land and culture are an identity of a man and religion is a character of a man. In other words, religion is an inner part of a man, land and culture are the outer part of a man.

All human being are neighbors of one another and we have not only to give respect to our neighbors but also to love them. Religion must teach, "a man should love his neighbor as himself.” If human being will follow this golden principle and put it into action strictly in their lives then there would be no religious persecution on the globe. It is seen a rise in attacks against people targeted because of their religion or belief. The world must step up to wipe out religious persecution of fellow beings. We all have a shared responsibility to be on guard for each other in love. It is has become a global issue of the day that there is too hatred and mob lynching has taken away peace and brotherhood of the world. Religion is basic factor of this issue in persecutors nations.

There are two kinds of religious persecution, one is governmental persecution and other is Non-governmental persecution later is in some ways worst. At least someone whom the government charges with a crime is entitled to a trial in which the facts are aired. These both types of persecutors target to marginalize the weak section of society either at the hands of non-state actors or through discriminatory laws and practices purposefully. The systematic religious discrimination is a dominant tool for persecution which purpose is of cleansing and genocide of a religion by making them marginalized due to their faith. Someone can ask how it works for cleansing and genocide of a religion. It is very clear for those who are being persecuted by this dominant tool of the systematic discrimination. The effects of this dominant tool of the systematic discrimination can be categorized in the following ways. First group of persecuted can’t bear this systematic discrimination and be forced to leave their faith. The second group of persecuted can’t bear this systematic discrimination and be forced to leave country. The third group of persecuted can’t bear this systematic discrimination and they try to defend themselves resultantly they further be suffered. The fourth group of persecuted can’t bear this systematic discrimination and they limit their religious practices and activities. This is the persecuted group who are not enjoying their religious freedom with liberty. The fifth group of persecuted can’t bear this systematic discrimination and they become a helping hand for the persecutors. 

The defenders of religious freedom and persecution should eradicate the systematic religious discrimination from the society at their first step which is the aggressive tool in the hands of persecutors. The West should have power to dominate those who are using this systematic religious discrimination as blueprint for genocide purpose. For doing this the meaning of persecution should be redefined, which is an actual persecution.

In spite of all forms of systematic discrimination cum religious persecution in the genocide clamp, one cannot break the will of man who insists on a dignified life trying to protect the gains made by paying heavy prices. In this context religion should say, you should feel at ease knowing that nothing can separate you from the love of God, Christ is for you. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Here is the way where Power should be used to protect persecuted and the west stop funding persecuting nations and take decisive action to protect victims of systematic discrimination cum religious persecution.

There are religious extremist leaders in regions of the globe who preach a barbaric version of religion. It must be urged rejection of those who falsely and maliciously invoke religion to spread fear and hatred. Persecution as a response to religious belief is a violation of international law and requires a collective work to counter it. Where politics has become a religion, there discussion and debate for peaceful society becomes impossible. Any controversy becomes heresy which requires witch hunts, persecution and religious Jihad or Crusade. And no one can stay on sideline because conviction must be given a sign in order to avoid one is accused of heresy.

If a religion asks its followers to eat halal meat or instructs to do these religious things it cannot ask any other faith believer or non-believer, to eat halal meat or to do these religious things. One has ones' choice to eat halal meat or not, and to do the religious things or not. But one does not have the right to force others to follow their religion, this is also religious persecution.

No religion should be given the right to build its own worship-place at the worship place of others faith believer or to destroy it. No religion should be given the right of destruction of other faiths' cemeteries, icon looting and disruption of their religious services anywhere including occupied locations or where other faith believers are in minority, this is also religious persecution.

When a religion is teaching people to blow themselves up for killings others, who are influenced by religious extremism. The rights and freedom to practice of harmful and destructive religious teachings should not only be limited but also be banned, because no one can be given right to kill, to harm and to blow up others in the name religious belief or practice. If radicals ones ask for rights and freedom and they should be entertained, this is also persecution of peaceful faith believers.

When perpetrators of worst persecution based on religion and faith crying for rights and freedom to practice harmful and destructive religious teachings, the world should not take them seriously. The Perpetrators of worst persecution has a label of persecution which is meaningless. That’s why they say and they will fight until their so called persecution is no more .But if they cease, then let. Plenty of Persecutors are acting as so-called persecuted. What matters is that we are the party that guarantees your freedom to be a follower of any religion or belief without fear of persecution and discrimination, but we cannot be party that guarantees your freedom to practice harmful and destructive teachings of your religion. If we do so then our move is making strong to the Persecutor, it is absolutely right to say that is also persecution.

Members of the religion who promote hate against other people and their religion, they should be reoriented or admonished, let them limit and block to do so, and it’s the role of the West that even she should use her power against them to strengthen religious freedom, when she asks nations to support it. If religion is instigating to kill or lynch for a Criticism of one’s faith or practice or for a Cow; or a reason for faith majority’s acts, to torture, to rape, to murder, to massacres, to kidnap, forced disappearances, forced marriages, forced conversion of religion, unjust imprisonment, policies of dehumanization, extra judicial punishments, summary executions, death squads, religious persecution, political repression, social repression, religious discrimination, are due to faith minority’s vulnerability, then  all of these acts can be classified as religious terrorism, as they are done in the name of religion or for religion. Religion needs people. How will the "idea of peace" survive if the faithful of one religion are extinct by the acts of other religion? Humanity hopes to protect the people so that one can promote one's idea in peace and without intimidation of genocide or persecution.

We should stand with the oppressed either religion or non-religion. We should stand against the persecution of human beings. We should also stand against those, who use religion to oppress and to marginalize other, where they are in majority, bragging with jealousy that theirs religion has the sole right to rule and to command as per its phenomenon. All religions are man-made things, some are at one point used to control the masses. And some are used for people’s persecution, who are not converted to persecutors' religion. Let's remind ourselves what's stinking and treacherous at the globe; one's rank of hypocrisy is not one's necklace. One can say he is not a fan of religion but he must say he is not a fan of religious persecution. The heart of the issue should be codified of anti-persecution. No one has right to use sensational opinion about phobia. Those people have no right where their religion becomes in majority in any part of the world and from where religious minorities always have to flee from Jihadi or crusade persecution. That’s not a religion of peace which is practicing it.

In this year August 2019, this small step of the UN recognition the international day of commemorating the victims of violence based on religion and faith highlights the need for actionable solutions against religious discrimination cum persecution at the globe particularly where a religion is using its harmful and destructive teachings and practices against the humanity. This has become possible with the leading role of the USA and the West. We are thankful for the West to lead the nations to stand for the persecuted and has discouraged persecutors.

Christianity is the most persecuted religion at the globe. They are being died out due to their persecution. The persecutor religion with an aim and its nefarious scheme is applying its religious harmful teachings and practices for the extinction of Christianity in many regions of the globe. To human rights and religious freedom advocates of all backgrounds particularly Churches and Christian organizations including the US and the West, We’d like to ask you to help us and please take it serious and defend the most vulnerable section of the persecuted society. These persecutors either high profiles or low profiles should be removed from the society and this removal will send a powerful message to the world which would be an encouraging step in the support of the persecuted Christians. 

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